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How A Picture Might Cost You An Airbnb Rental

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According to some reports, certain Airbnb hosts have been turning people away because of the color of their skin, or even the way their name sounds. A study from the Harvard Business Review found that Airbnb guests with distinctly African-American names were 16% less likely to be accepted for a rental than identical guests with white-sounding names.

Dara King suspects this discrimination happened to her when she tried to rent a place for her family in Boulder, Colorado recently. "It was eye-opening," says King.  Now she works for a startup called Innclusive. They're trying to combat discrimination in home-sharing services by addressing some of the things they feel Airbnb has dropped the ball on. That means getting rid of profile pictures and increasing the amount of locations with an "Instant Book" options. King doesn't think the new policies go far enough, calling them "Band-Aids on open wounds."

The American Civil Liberties Union helped Airbnb craft their new policy. Rachel Goodman is a Staff Attorney for the Racial Justice Program at the ACLU. She says they have many questions for Airbnb regarding how the company will punish host who discriminate. She also advised the company publish any data they have on discriminatory practices that take place on their site. 

Airbnb had several weeks, but did not arrange an interview in time for this story. Their new changes take effect on November first. Listen Here.